Last season was one of dreams for the Indians, coming within a game of winning a championship, and playing their hearts out into extra innings of Game seven of the World Series.
The team had to go the extra mile due to a variety of injuries, and one player who they are being extra careful with as the spring is underway in Goodyear, Arizona is that of ace pitcher Corey Kluber.
Tito: If Kluber doesn’t feel he’s ready to start season opener on 4/3, it’s OK. Wants to be sure he’s recovered from 2016 workload.
Here’s an exact quote Sunday from Francona.
“We’ve told Kluber because we are slowing him down a little bit, if he’s not ready for Game 1, we can adjust,” Francona said. “And we’re more than willing to, because there’s a lot at stake over the course of the year. We all know Opening Day is a big deal, but we want him to position himself where he’s ready to log as many innings as we need.”
Some Indians fans went into full panic mode upon seeing that, thinking that Kluber was going to miss extended time after throwing 215 innings during the regular season and then another 34.1 innings, pitching all the way into game seven of the World Series against the Cubs.
Kluber as of now will pitch in simulated games before Cactus League play opens, and it sounds like the team is going to take a very smart and slow approach with him from there, not forcing anything with their 18-game winner from 2016.
The Indians should make sure they play it safe with Kluber, not pushing to the point where he’s burned out by August when the team may need him the most.
For now, let’s not get ready to jump off the 480 bridge yet about the Tribe’s best pitcher. Trust the process as they say when it comes to what they are doing with him, and if they do it right, Kluber should be ready to go when it matters most and the Indians are making another run at a title.
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